Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Color Mixing

My new obsession: Dyeing Yarn

Sunday I finished dyeing my birthday stash. I'll try to get photos up this week.

My last batch turned out great - lilac and acid green, my favorites.

My second to last batch turned out awful. DREADFUL. I was trying to do several colors. I wanted a light celadon and a salmon. I need to practice getting colors exactly. They ended up way too dark.

Ironically I ended up with yarn the exact color of my collection of Gap socks from the late eighties.

So in my search to fix my color problems: Color Scheme Designer

This site is addictive.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Envy these socks!

Finished socks!


This is the yarn I dyed last weekend. My goal was to dye and finish a pair of socks for spring break-laundry be damned!

 Here is the heel detail. This was my fist toe up gusset which worked petty well. The pattern on the heel is from an old knitting book from 1915. It was supposed to form a diamond pattern - so clearly I got a bit off. I still like the way it works out. It incorporates yarn overs (yarn in front if you are from 1925) and slipped stitched. I'd like to play with it again and see if I can get it right. Either way, this made a nice cushy heel flap, so it is not quite correct, but I do consider it a success, seeing as I now have new socks and all.

I also tried to do the two at a time thing for the leg part. I can see why people like it...when you are done, you are DONE, which is very appealing. In all honesty I would have made these longer if I had been using my DPN's. I can roll much faster, and the circular needle is fiddly, and I am not so much on fiddly stuff. My cheapo circs don't really help[, so I probably ought to invest in a better pair of needles and try it again.

The basic yarn is KnitPicks bare which I rather like, soft, and my other socks I have done in it have worn well. With my Dahrma Trading Company order I get some Wildfoote Luxury Sock yarn. A bit scratchy before dyeing, but afterwards it softens up. My plan is to crank out a pair in that ASAP. That way I can compare how these socks and the Wildefoote wear over the next year. If it about the same then the Knitpicks is much cheaper. They both are 75% wool 25% nylon, so the race is on.

Of course this means (in my sad little math brain) that I cannot wear these socks again until I have the second pair, so they do not get over-used before the second pair is ready.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Green with Envy

My birthday present to myself this week - dyeing yarn.

This is with the new Jacquard iDye packs. Kelly green and royal blue. I live in a town with a huge college art program and all our local art stores had was the iDye stuff.

In fairness Plaza Art can do special orders for the regular Jacquard acid dyes, but I didn't plan this out so well. The order wouldn't get here until next week. Whoops.

So I've been playing with the iDyes until my order from Dharma Trading Company gets here.

Spring cleaning is almost done. If the laundry isn't washed by this afternoon it's not happening. Next two days I'll be up to my elbows in yarn.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Hyperbolic Coral Reef

We sent the day at the Natural History Museum today. Hands down our favorite museum. This was the first time we got to see the new human origins exhibit. While I miss the old dioramas, this one is really well done. Lots of interactive stuff for the kiddos and lots for the husband to read. I even got the heel flap on my sock done while they were all doing their thing.

This is a must see: it is a giant crocheted coral reef. I'm on my iTouch (free wiFi- thanks Smithsonian!) so I'll try to add more photos tomorrow. This thing is incredible. All sorts of materials were used. I spotted cassette tape and Noro in the mix. Huge hit.

Edited to add photo:

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Yarn vs. Urn

I love this, but I'm saving up for yarn.


Next week is Spring Break, and my birthday. My gift to myself this year is to do some dyeing over break.

Some references for dyeing yarn
  • Great Inspiration - they have beutiful colors and lots of information about the yarns they use: Sunshine Yarns
  • Blank Yarn for Socks - this cone has 5500 yards!! That's enough for over 12 skeins at 450 yards each: Yarn Workshop
  • Color and Style trends Cosmo Worlds 
  • Color trends for clothing and household - lots of great ideas: Design Options

Monday, April 04, 2011

Wants and Needs

So lets be honest - I have NO extra time right now. My work pile is ridiculous. I even forgot about sending in cupcakes for little-sis' birthday last week. Don't even try peeking at my UFO pile, it might eat you.

I do not need one more thing to do/knit/plan for/shop for...

And I still want this book. Saw it last week at the bookstore. I don't really care much for royal weddings, but you can knit the Queen and her Corgies.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Zip - it

So March is proving to be wacky busy around here. Soccer has started, but we are not at the point where the weather is nice enough to sit and knit while the kiddos run around. More huddle and try to stay dry.

So I am behind on the knitting. And the grading, but frankly that is less important. Not that grades are due Friday or anything.

So next in the queue I need to finish up little-sis' monkey cardigan. Part of why I am stalled is the idea of doing the zipper. It sort of makes sense...anyway, here's a tutorial that seems to make it look much easier than I was thinking. We'll see.

If I don't get this done soon I am going to be in big trouble. I finished Big-Sis' Owlet over Winter Break. It goes faster when the kid involved doesn't want sleeves. And the pattern is all worked out for you.

Owlet Pattern by Kate Davies

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Algebraic Anklets

OK, I realize that as a math major I have a bias to such things. This is the coolest thing ever - an algebraic formula for socks.

Expressed in terms of x. Heaven.

Friday, March 11, 2011



This is the view from my hotel room. I am thinking sock pattern.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Everything is bigger in Texas

I'm in Dallas for the week for the SIGCSE conference. A computer science thing.
I have two passions when I travel. I always try out the public transportation. It's my trip and I like trains, so sue me. You want to really get the feel of a city- try the trains.
I also make sure I track down the local yarn store.
So about a 20 minute walk from the hotel I arrived at the Shabby Sheep.
This store is great. Cute dog, great selection, lots of light. Seriously worth the trek.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

March of the penguins

I just got this link from a student...she's in the process of applying for a knitting scholarship and is working on penguins. Isn't this cute??

Here's the pattern. The site has great pictures and directions.

Must not start new project....if I repeat it often enough it might sink in.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

It's a Snap!

OK, confession. Normally all I have available to edit photos is Paint. IT can crop, and resize and rotate, but that is pretty much it.

So recently I discovered Piknik.

So a before shot:

And after:

The color correction is subtle, since the original photo pretty close. It did a good job of sharpening the shot.

Iknow, this isn't exactly knitting technique, but without photos the blog is dullsville.

Monday, February 21, 2011

February Socks Done!

I have been doing the Self Imposed Sock Club on Ravelry this year. The idea is you bag up sock yarn and patterns at the beginning of the year, and each month you grab one and go. It has been great fun so far. My main problem is now I have a much longer list of have-to socks I want to make.

The yarn is Lorna's Laces in Unicorn Parade. I got it last month at the Knitting Sisters in Williamsburg. My favorite yarn store. Local (ish ). Great selection. Friendly.

Lorna's Laces Unicorn Parade

So I had planned on these becoming Jaywalkers. No offense to the pattern, but this yarn turned out to be much busier than I originally thought so they weren't a good match. When I bought it the blues and purples were more on top and the orange was not as visible, I have a backup yarn for that pattern, so I will get a pair of Jaywalkers.

So I frogged, and frogged again after trying basic toe up vanilla socks. I'm a math person and the random stripy-ness was bugging me. I know, I know, really it makes no difference. The socks are for big-sis, not me. And she's in shoes most of the time, and...anyway, it bugged me.

 So I came up with this pattern. It alternates regular stockinette with bands of slipped stitch patterns. Just enough to a) not be boring and b) break up the stripes.

Plus it required counting, so it made me happy.

Afterthought heel. Not the best picture but big-sis was getting tired of posing.

I plan on playing with the pattern again. It seems to work well with all the crazy variegated yarn I pick up but can't ever seem to find a use for.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Suck in that Gut!

This handy calculator takes your measurements and gauge and figures out your waist shaping:


(I love math)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

I wish...

This was my local yarn store.

n the spirit of true confessions I am a yarn store stalker. In my dreams I am brave enough to go in and plop down and the table, whip out my latest knit and chat away.

Reality is I am a total chicken about these things. Like I lose the ability to speak.

But Loop-I think I could eventually settle in there. Maybe not the chat part at first, but they were so nice and not scary.

Plus they had yarn with lots of color. I love the idea of my local store- but it is dreary. Fifteen shades if olive brown and puce. And all rather expensive. Loop had some Berroco wool- I could have done a sweater for under $40. I'd so much rather shop local than do the big box stores.

Buy I wanted to get stuff out of my usually shopping range. Madeline Tosh for a Citron and some Berroco Ultra Alpaca.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Say Cheese!

My theme this year is "do it right" when it comes to my knitting, so I am working on technical details. Last few days I have been working on photography.

Well, working = reading about and wishing I had a better camera.

So basically pretending to take snappy pics.

In my reasearch I came accross this how to: http://www.conradhoffman.com/photographing_your_knitting.pdf 

Funny how when you Google something the answer is right there. Seriously worth the read. I need new lightbulbs.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Tropical Granola

This was supposed to be breakfast for the husband and I this week. It didn't quite make it that long, so I figured I'd better write it down.

Tropical Granola
  • 4 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup unsweatened coconut 
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seed
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 cup diced dried pineapple
  • 1 cup diced crystalized ginger
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup dried banana 

  1.  Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Mix the oats, coconut, flax, oil and honey.
  3. Cook the mix in the oven for 25 - 30 minutes. Stir the mix every 10 minutes - seriously, don't skip this. Burned granola is yucky.
  4. Let the granola cool. Mix in the dried fruit.
The ladies like granola

    Tuesday, February 01, 2011

    Technique Tuesday: SSK

    So my knitting resolution this year is to expand my technique. I've gotten into a bit of a rut - I do things the same way everytime.

    Brandywine by Romi Hill
    So while working on the Brandywine shawl my SSK's were bugging me - they slant the right way, but end up all crooked.

    Enter the Tech Knitter. This is my new favorite site. The illustrations alone are amazing. 

    Here is her post on a fixed SSK. This rings some bells - I probably read it int he past and thought "why bother". Except my old ones made wonky stitches, so there.

    Monday, January 31, 2011

    Wish I could remember what this yarn is. I bought it last summer at Knitting Addiction while on vacation with the parental units and the girls at Nags Head, NC. It is cotton, and gorgeous, and I am pretty sure the label floated away while I was knitting it on the beach.

    Side note: This is hands down one of the BEST knitting stores I have ever been to. They were stocked mostly with cotton and non-wolly stuff, since it was July, at the beach. Huge, sunny, and LOTS of samples - well labeled. I would be there now if I was a less responsible mother.

    So the yarn. Really it would be pretty just nailed to the wall. Originally I turned it into two shrugs for the girls. The shrugs were CUTE, but by December they had worn them exactly once. Enter FPS (Fiber Protective Services). Yarn abandonment. 

    So I re-purposed it into a cowl for me. Size 11 needles, cast on 80 stitches. Four rows garter, Knit until you think you might not have enough for the last four rows of garter -do the four rows of garter, cast off. If you get bores of the knit throw in a line of purls. I did prime numbers (3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19 or 23) Because I'm nerdy like that. Perfect.

    Problem is I cannot get my hands on it. Yesterday the girls and I went to Carytown to look at their favorite toy store - World of Mirth:

    And our local yarn store, the Yarn Lounge:

    And now I can't get it back - Little-sis refused her coat so she spent the afternoon with it wrapped over her head. Last night big-sis wore it for movie night. No longer abandoned.

    Sunday, January 30, 2011

    Knitting Books

    We had an unexpected snow day today. We've had pretty miserable weather lately so the girls are gitting rather crabby with the indoors.

    To liven things up we went to the bookstore to hang out. In betwee reading "Llama llama mad at mamma" and Barack Obama's new kids book I got to look at some knitting books.

    I seriously want to make this:

    Tuesday, January 25, 2011

    Vicarious Thrills

    So it is exam week, which has been unusually hectic this year. Generally I can get some knitting in while the kids test and I peer menacingly, but so far I have been swamped with work. Blah.

    So some window shopping, if I can't knit I can pretend, right?
    • Paradise Fibers I don't keep a bucket list, but an "empty nest" list of all the things I hope to have time for after my soccer mom days have passed. One is dying yarn. I have done a few projects, and I am totally ready to convert the basement into my own mini laboratory, but time and budget (and the husband) do not yet permit.

    Thursday, January 20, 2011

    Opposite Day

    So today is opposite day. I do these occasionally to prevent a funk from settling in. All day I do the opposite of my first instinct.

    So today I did not stay in bed, I did wash my hair and I did not have marshmallows for breakfast.

    Tuesday, January 18, 2011

    Ice Day

    We have an unexpected day home due to an ice storm. Two thing on the agenda-catch up on lesson plans and knitting.

    I just finished chart A on the Brandywine shawl. The bright blue helps on such a dreary day.

    Monday, January 17, 2011

    Needing Color

    Typical gray January day here. I decided yesterday I needed some color to get me through the rest of the month so I cast on the Brandywine Shawl in Blue Yonder Stroll by Knit Picks. It is the happiest blue I can find right now. 
     The chart is pretty easy to follow so far - it took a bit for me to get that the first few rows were essentially garter stitich. Today my goal is to find a printer - trying to follow a lcae chart on my tiny iTouch is huting the eyeballs.

    Saturday, January 15, 2011

    Sunday, January 09, 2011

    Why I Love the Internet, reason #57

    I am plugging away at Little-Sis' monkey sweater today. I am at the point of putting the underarm stitches on waste yarn, and I have no idea of how many to do.

    Internet to the rescue!

    Wool Works Raglan Pattern

    Accoring to this I need 1" under the arm. Back to knitting.

    Saturday, January 08, 2011

    I am so consistent

    So I am participating in the Self Imposed Sock Club (http://www.ravelry.com/groups/self-imposed-sock-club) over at Ravelry. The idea us you kit up 12 socks-yarn and pattern and each month you randomly grab one of your sock kits.

    Great idea-I do have a pile and a half of the sock stuff sitting around. When I started putting together my kits this morning I found this:

    Granted a small, but consistent, selection of my sock yarns. Green & blue. The rainbow one on top is the only exception.

    Friday, January 07, 2011

    Next in the Queue

    So the queue feature in Ravelry might make it a bit too easy to imagine project after project...but once I finish Little Sis' mystery monkey sweater, and my Purple Thursday socks this is my next contender:

    The Brandywine Shawl is by Romi Hill. I love the idea of some lace and a lot of garter - semi-mindless is good right now. Also she is donating $5 for every pattern purchased to Haiti relief. 

    This past August The Husband spent a week in Haiti covering a local effort to bring Haitian college kids tot he US to finish their degrees. The entire college system was destroyed in the earthquake. The cause couldn't be better.


    Added: I must try this:

    Tuesday, January 04, 2011

    Knitting Socks

    Must be the extreme cold this winter that is making me obsess over socks. I have joined the "Self Impossed Sock Club" Group over at Ravelry. The idea is you bag up patterns and yarn - one per month, then every month graba  bog and knit.

    Course I have no bags, patterns or yarn yet, but I am trying to finish a few things first. Mainly my garter rib socks.

    Some good links to techniques. This one lets you cast on (for top down) without the bump where you join the round.